U.S.

Vigil held for West Michigan woman killed in Times Square crash

Vigil held for West Michigan woman killed in Times Square crash

The New York Police Department charged him late Thursday with one count of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder, and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

"The worst went through my mind and that's why the mayor and I came here as quickly as we could", Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at an afternoon new conference near the crash scene. Rojas had admitted to smoking marijuana laced with PCP, according to the complaint. He stated that "I smoked" before the rampage.

A handcuffed Rojas said nothing as Judge Tamiko Amaker ordered him held without bail, and his defense attorney, Enrico DeMarco, declined to comment after the hearing.

"All of a sudden I heard this boom and a auto is barreling down Seventh Avenue hitting people, just, 'Boom!"

On Thursday morning they were strolling the neon-trimmed heart of New York City when a motorist jumped the curb and plowed through three blocks of Times Square sidewalk and into crowds of pedestrians.

The has been charged with murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, in connection with incident which claimed the life of an 18-year-old girl and injured 22 other people at the NY tourist hotspot.

One of the posts eventually helped stop the runaway vehicle driven by the 26-year-old suspect, Richard Rojas, now charged with murder, attempted murder and vehicular homicide. Rojas' motive remains under investigation, police said Friday.

"He was troubled and lashing out", the mayor said.

"At the root of this from what we know so far is an untreated mental health issue likely going back decades", he added. Officials said four of the injured were in critical condition, but their wounds did not appear to be life-threatening.




Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Mich., died at the scene, while her 13-year-old sister, Ava, is being treated at Cornell Hospital for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, the chief said. "She will be deeply missed by the staff and students here". Rojas also has two DWI convictions, from 2015 and 2008.

He also had two previous drunken driving cases.

Rojas was detained by police and civilians, police said.

"You're trying to steal my identity", he told the notary, according to prosecutors.

He drove from the Bronx to Times Square "without incident", the prosecutor said, but he drove to Seventh Avenue and "waited for traffic to move, made a U-turn, hopped the sidewalk ... he murdered in cold blood an 18-year-old woman".

Last year, city officials installed 200 custom-made bollards in the Times Square area, enlisting the California-based Calpipe Security Bollards to manufacture and help design special 8 ½-inch diameter (22 centimeter) hunks of metal that are embedded in the ground and spaced about 4 feet (1 meter) apart, said Rob Reiter, the company's security consultant.

Thursday's incident sparked fear in the U.S. financial capital after deadly car-rammings in London, Berlin and the French city of Nice, but authorities said there was no evidence the crash was terror-related.

"We can and should do more to keep our residents and visitors safe on our streets and street design is the first place to start", said Ydanis Rodriguez, a city councilman from Manhattan who chairs the transportation committee.

Elizabeth Long, of Dayton, Ohio, was walking to the Hard Rock Cafe when she saw a maroon auto heading toward her on the sidewalk.


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